Opinions – 2002

Disclaimer: The Department of Justice expends considerable effort to ensure that the attorney general’s opinions appearing on our website are true copies of the originals on file in our office. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of a printed copy that you did not personally download from the website.

Volume & Opinion Number Opinion Held Date Issued
49-23
  1. A comprehensive plan adopted prior to October 1, 1999, has no legal effect as the basis for new local zoning or subdivision regulations unless it meets the requirements of a growth policy pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 76-1-601.
  2. Zoning regulations lawfully adopted pursuant to master plans, comprehensive plans and comprehensive development plans prior to October 1, 2001, are valid and enforceable. However, after October 1, 2001, county and municipal zoning regulations authorized by Title 76, chapter 2, parts 2 and 3, may not be adopted or substantively revised unless a growth policy is adopted for the entire area of the planning board having jurisdiction.
  3. A municipal governing body may not extend municipal boundaries, pursuant to the Planned Community Development Act of 1973, without conforming to a growth policy.
  4. The expedited review provisions of the Subdivision and Platting Act may not be utilized without a compliant growth policy.
  5. If a city or county has not developed a growth policy, interim zoning regulations may be implemented only when: there is an exigent circumstance related to public health, safety and welfare; the zoning measure reasonably relates to the exigency; and more formal planning processes are underway as required by statute. Failure to adopt a growth policy is not, in and of itself, an exigency that permits adoption of emergency interim zoning.
  6. A growth policy must cover the entire planning board jurisdiction for zoning decisions to proceed.
09/26/02
49-22 General obligation bonds issued by a county water and sewer district are payable by levy on the taxable value of all real and personal property within the district. 09/16/02
49-21 Mont Code Ann. § 3-5-901(4) specifically limits state payment of costs for court-appointed counsel for indigent criminal defendants to district court criminal cases. 09/11/02
49-20
  1. The loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges that occurs upon a guilty plea, conviction, or forfeiture of bail of a fish and game violation is a direct consequence of that violation. A Judge must inform an individual accused of a fish and game violation of the potential forfeiture of fishing, hunting, and trapping privileges as a result of conviction, guilty plea, or forfeiture of bond in order to assure that a “knowing” plea is entered.
  2. Notification regarding loss of hunting, fishing, and trapping privileges is, by statute, to be done by the Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.
07/24/02
49-19
Boards of County Commissioners have a duty to accept and pay claims for actual and necessary clerical expenses associated with the operation of justice court. The procedural rule adopted in State ex rel. Browman v. Wood, 168 Mont. 341, 543 P.2d 184 (1975) applies to disputes between Justices of the Peace and Boards of County Commissioners regarding payment of actual and necessary expenses. 07/16/02
49-18 The Montana Constitution and Montana law authorize a municipal court judge to release a defendant on a time-pay bail bond, defined as a bond in an amount set by the judge to be paid in installments. 05/16/02
49-17 The two-year residency requirement contained in Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2104(2) does not disqualify from standing for election a person who was transferred into a county commission district by virtue of reapportionment conducted pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 7-4-2102, as long as the person has resided at the same address, now in the new district, for the requisite two-year period. 01/28/02
49-16
  1. The county commissioners are generally obligated to fund the library budget submitted by the library board within the limits set by Mont. Code Ann. § 15-10-420.
  2. The county has the power to enter an interlocal agreement under which it could bind itself to fund the library budget as submitted by the library board under Mont. Code Ann. § 22-1-309(1).
01/18/02
49-15
  1. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House are prohibited by article V, section 9 of the Montana Constitution and by Mont Code Ann. § 5-2-104 from appointing a legislator as a member of the Board of Review as provided by Mont Code Ann. § 30-16-302.
  2. Designating a legislator as a nonvoting member does not circumvent this prohibition.
  3. Under Mont. Code Ann. § 30-16-301, the President and the Speaker can appoint a nonlegislator as a member of the Board.
01/14/02
49-14
 An elementary school district that has not operated a school for three consecutive school years has been abandoned pursuant to Mont. Code Ann. § 20-6-209 and may not petition to reopen the school under Mont. Code Ann. § 20-6-502. 01/10/02